Well, I'll say this much: "Key to Justice" isn't anywhere NEAR as bad as Talia Gryphon's third book.
Unfortunately, the fourth novel in her spectacularly disastrous series is still a pretty wretched affair. "Key to Justice" has a few good ideas sprinkled in the mire, but they're sunk by the fragmented plot, the hollow characters, and an avalanche of ridiculous "paramortal" cameos (there's a freaking VAMPIRE KNIGHT?). Even worse, Gryphon burns through all the semi-interesting plot she had in the book's first half.
Having been "revirginized" (huh?), Gillian fumes and fusses about her renewed relationship with Aleksei, and continues giving therapy to more of her weird clients. Her main client is the seductive vampire Csangal, who has a bucketload of personal issues -- and some rather sinister plans for Gillian. So after sitting around chatting in the library for awhile, all the vampires head off to rescue her, and face Dracula and his army once and for all...
... and since Gryphon runs out of plot about halfway through the book, she has to whip up something more. While Gillian and her buddy Kimber deal with some unexpected complications to their personal lives, their friend Jenna has been captured and drugged by an evil vampire ex-priest who is trying to turn humanity against the "paramortals."
Five words can describe "Key to Justice" -- made up along the way. It feels like Talia Gryphon was trying to have an epic final clash with Dracula and his vast paramortal army... only to blow through the entire Epic Clash of Epicness in just a few chapters, most of which was people sitting around talking. Then she scrambles to fill up the rest of the book with a NEW villain and a NEW storyline.
It would be pretty bad even if Gryphon could write... which she can't. The plot is littered with leaden infodumps about interesting stuff happening elsewhere in the world, rambling chitchat (Gillian psychoanalyzing Dracula after being kidnapped), and drippily sentimental interludes that may induce vomiting. The dialogue tends to be painfully stilted, especially during big dramatic moments ("That is not possible. You do not have his level of power!" "It is possible. I have evolved").
And Gryphon even crams in a half-finished vampire mythology, smushed together with Judeo-Christian legend (strangely, no mentions of God). It all sounds very cool and dramatic, except that an epic Final Battle ends up turning into an anticlimactic chitchat in front of heavenly beings. And seriously, enough TMI about Gillian being "revirginized" and her "perfume of purity." Ew.
What's more, Gryphon keeps piling on even more "paramortals": a new Norse vampire pantheon (all gorgeous and perfect, of course), a golem, Erzsébet Báthory (how overused!) and Sweeney Todd (somebody saw the Johnny Depp movie!).
Unsurprisingly, Gillian is still a fuming foul-mouthed parody of a soldier, spending half her time whining about how AWFUL it is to have a romantic, attentive boyfriend who inexplicably adores her. In fact, everybody adores how nasty and whiny she is, because... well, there isn't really a reason. And the great, mighty, evil Dracula turns out to be yet another gorgeous emo boy who only does bad things because his wife killed herself, and just needs some therapy to be non-evil/crazy.
"Key To Justice" has a few good ideas (the whole origins-of-vampirism thing), but it's drowned in the fragmented plot and unscary villains. At least there's no mention of soggy private parts.